⋙ W E L C O M E T O M A L A Y S I A
Stacey and I took the train from Surat Thani to Malaysia and had our first train border-crossing. It was quite the interesting experience. We waited at the train station for three extra hours because our night train was delayed. When we got on the train it was 2 a.m. and it seemed that everyone else had been asleep for quite some time. We crawled into our bunks and shut the curtains. We were awoken several times in the early morning by people pulling the curtains open and peeking in, wanting to put our bunks up to sit beneath. Clearly, they hadn’t gotten on at 2 a.m. So I responded by simply pulling the curtain back and falling back to sleep each time, completely unashamed.
We finally woke up and sat below our bunks eating our snacks to avoid the steep costs of train food when our train finally stopped at a train station. We looked around inquisitively and asked “Malaysia?” they nodded, so we grabbed our bags. When we got off the train we went inside a building and the Thai passport control stamped our passports, and then we walked about 10 feet down a hall and to the left where we entered Malaysia. A man stamped my passport and pointed me to a woman who frisked my bag and said, “Feels like clothes.” I said, “It is indeed clothes.” Then, we stepped outside, a bit confused as to where to go next until we noticed everyone getting back on the train. We got back on and sat in our seats hoping we were going the right way. A man came through and looked at our tickets and just stamped it and we rode for a few more hours into Malaysia.
We caught a bus from our last train stop and rode into Kuala Lumpur. We arrived late in the night, but we got to enjoy this beautiful sunset on the way there. Kuala Lumpur was a rest stop it seemed, because we were in the same place for almost a week, but we fit lots and lots of experiences in to our time here.
⋙ M E R D E K A S Q U A R E
Merdeka Square is also commonly known as “Independence Square” because it is where Malaysia declared its independence. This square has a beautiful fountain & park area and it’s surrounded by some stunning examples of architecture. Also, we arrived here by one of our more interesting methods of transportation – a middle-aged man we met at McDonald’s drove us here! This was the first time I’ve ever just hopped in the car with a complete stranger.
⋙ B U D G E T S & M A R K E T S
In Kuala Lumpur I had a few super budget-savers. We chose street food often in KL which often totaled less than $1.50 for decent sized meals. This beauty was a vegetarian Indian pocket pastry, watermelon and free tea from our hostel for a grand total of $1.12. I had a major budget-saver moment in KL. My day backpack strap broke and I spent a day and a half trying to find a bag that fit my budget, but they all were much more than I wanted to spend. Instead, I bought a super-cheap sewing kit and reattached the strap myself! (It held up really well, it’s still attached today, four months later.) It’s little decisions like these that help you stay on the road longer or let you spend more money on something big like swimming with whale sharks.
Markets are always a backpacker’s friend and major temptation! This little Chinatown market was right down the street from our hostel. We walked through there every day. We shopped and ate in here several times. I loved the Chinese lanterns hanging all through this outdoor market.
The Central Market is stunning! There are intricate tile floors, beautiful lanterns and stall after stall filled with scarves, jewelry, sarongs & local treats. I made out purchasing only two things: beautiful hanging elephants and a batik bracelet.
Stacey had her aura and jewelry cleansed by this woman.
⋙ S R I M A H A M A R I A M M A N T E M P L E
This temple was on the same block as our hostel. We walked down one evening to visit this site. We walked in and services and blessings were taking place. There was beautiful music that we could hear even just outside our hostel. A horn and drum were being played inside the main area.
This man rang the bell calling people to worship.
Offerings were left by a statue of Shiva
The men to the right were playing the in the right of the photo
⋙ T H E F R E E – D R I N K S T R E E T
We set out one night on the hunt for a specific bar that Stacey found just for me (more on that later!) but our first attempt was a bust. None of the locals in the area had even heard of it! They instead told us all about this street which was only a block or so away from where we were that girls could drink all night for free. We figured, why not give it a shot! We ordered a not-so-tasty pizza at this restaurant and each had two margaritas and in the end we only had to pay for the pizza! If you’re on a budget, a girl and want a drink, go down here and get one for free. Just remember to be responsible. (Lord, I sound like my mom.)
⋙ P E R D A N A B O T A N I C A L G A R D E N – O R C H I D G A R D E N
One of the many free stops to make in KL is the Perdana Botanical Garden. We planned to see more of it, but were unfortunately rained, correction practically monsooned, out on those attempts. We did make it to the Orchid Garden, though, and it was stunning. There were all kinds of orchids of different shapes, sizes and colors! I loved wandering through here and even got a phenomenal view of the KL Tower and Patronus Towers. Definitely make this a stop if you’re in KL and see the other gardens, I can only imagine that they’re just as beautiful!
⋙ S R I M A H A M A R I A M M A N T E M P L E : T A K E T W O
When we were in KL, my beautiful, sweet, wonderful great-grandmother passed away. After talking with my mom & grandma, we all decided that it was best that I continue on my trip. On the day of the funeral, I went back to Sri Mahamariamman Temple by myself and I sat and meditated. I remembered my grandma and then took the time to appreciate this temple and what it allowed me to do, how it allowed me to celebrate my grandma’s life and realize how blessed I was to have spent 25 years with my great-grandma.
There is so much more to Kuala Lumpur than just these five things, so be sure to stay tuned for my upcoming posts about KL Tower, Batu Caves, my first mosque visit and even more!